By Chinedu James
The Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC) and the Consumer Protection Council (CPC) are to set up a joint investigation team to track call masking with call refilling – a major problem the industry is currently contending with. The two agencies are to work together at the instance of the National Assembly.
Earlier this year, the telecom regulator applied the hammer on six telecommunications companies, suspending their licenses for infractions on call masking with call refilling.
The NCC’s collaboration with the CPC will further deepen its regulatory ability to checkmate the problem.
Executive Vice Chairman, NCC, Prof. Umar Danbatta, while speaking during a working visit by the CPC to the NCC’s headquarters in Abuja said the directives of the National Assembly to set up an investigation team to look into the issue of call masking and call refilling came at a time when the commission has set in motion measures to end the threat of such breaches to national security.
“The office of the National Security Adviser had directed the NCC to put in place, measures that will contain this menace even before the directive from the National Assembly to the NCC and the CPC.
“We have resolved to set up a joint committee to investigate call masking and filing and conclude within a month, and I am very happy with the outcome of the meeting.
“What has happened today is a testimony to an important item on NCC’s 8-point agenda which is strategic collaborations and partnerships with other agencies of government,” said Danbatta.
Another outcome of the collaboration was to review the existing Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) between the two government agencies and to also discuss how to improve complaints resolution of telecommunications consumers.
Director General, CPC, Mr. Babatunde Irukera also noted that the two government organizations holds consumers in high esteem and as such will work towards ways to improve consumer experience. He further stated that the concluding part of the MoU will usher in a new era of high productivity and improving the quality of service delivered to the consumer even as issues in the industry will be addressed.
“It was a very productive meeting and few key things we agreed on is that the CPC needs a good number of guidelines, directions, regulations and initiatives of the Consumer Affairs Bureau of the NCC, with respect to addressing consumer issues.
“We are looking to concluding an existing negotiation on an MOU that will define how our relationship goes going forward, and we will open a mutual investigation into quality of consumer experiences in the telecommunications industry, to address a lot of consumer issues,” said Irukera.
In the same vein, the Executive Commissioner Stakeholders Management, NCC, Sunday Dare stated that the collaboration had been in existence with previous MoU’s and the concluding part is needed to protect the consumers and improve the quality of service.
“We have been trying to review the MOU for some months and we’ve come to the final part of it, and what has happened today is to make sure we create the kind of synergy that we need to go forward to protect the consumers,” he said.
The CPC is an agency supervised by the Federal Ministry of Trade and Investment. It is set up to protect and enhance consumers’ interest through information, education and enforcement of appropriate standards for goods and services and to promote an environment of fair and ethical trade practices.